Beatlemania Returns To GR Symphony's Picnic Pops

Beatlemania Returns To GR Symphony's Picnic Pops

When The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, it not only changed the face of pop/rock music, it asked the question, how do you top that? Leave it to the Fab Four to do it.

The colorful album jacket of Sgt. Pepper's gave way to an all-white album with the words "The Beatles" embossed on the cover. With songs such as Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and While My Guitar Gently Weeps, the double album nicknamed "The White Album" spent 65 weeks on the U.S. charts and occupied the top spot for nine weeks.

"I wasn't interested in following up Sgt. Pepper," John Lennon said later. "What I was going for was to forget about Sgt. Pepper ... and just get back to basic music."

Bob Bernhardt, principal pops conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony, and a diehard Beatles fan, says John, Paul, George and Ringo nailed it.

"It's maybe the greatest rock and roll album ever made," Bernhardt said.

Five decades after its release, the Grand Rapids Pops with special guests, Classical Mystery Tour, celebrates the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' White Album with Here Comes the Sun: A Tribute to the Beatles at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 18-19 at Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Bernhardt will lead the second concerts of the 2019 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops. Benefactor sponsors are Mercy Health, Universal Forest Products, and Vredevoogd Heating & Cooling.

Classical Mystery Tour, the world's best Beatles show with symphony orchestra, returns for its fourth Picnic Pops appearance at Cannonsburg in a show that also will be the 100th program in Picnic Pops history. Music from the Fab Four's celebrated White Album plus such songs as Here Comes the Sun, Penny Lane and The Long and Winding Road, will be a part of the show.

Join the Grand Rapids Pops for more than two dozen Beatles tunes performed exactly as they were originally recorded. Hear Penny Lane with solo piccolo trumpet, experience the magic of Yesterday with acoustic guitar and string quartet, and relish the cascading crescendos in A Day in the Life which originally was recorded with a 40-piece symphony orchestra." Preconcert entertainment by guitarist Chris Bursley.

Stars of such shows as Beatlemania on Broadway and Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles, the musicians of Classical Mystery Tour look and sound just like John, Paul, George and Ringo would have had they played with the Grand Rapids Symphony at Cannonsburg Ski Area back in the day.

The 3-Concert Series, Flexpass, and individual table and chair tickets can be purchased through the GRS box office by calling (616) 454-9451 ext. 4 weekdays; or in person at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100; or online at

Tickets also are available at the gate at the night of the concert for an additional $5. Group discounts are available for groups of 10 or more people by calling (616) 454-9451.

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